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Neuroscience and Social Work Practice: The Missing Link

Neuroscience and Social Work Practice: The Missing Link

ISBN 9781412926980
Edition 1
Publication Date
Publisher SAGE Publications, Inc
Author(s)
Overview
Neuroscience and Social Work Practice: The Missing Link describes why and how neuroscience is the missing link for human service specialists who are facing the increasing complexity of human and societal problems and diagnoses. It illustrates the need for understanding this link between neuroscience and social work in terms of attachment and bonding, trauma, psychotherapy, psychotropic medications and drugs of abuse. Knowledge of brain science can assist social workers and others with the increasing challenges of clinical practice. It also illuminates, especially through Social Neuroscience, the links between social processes and neuroscience. The Social Work profession has long prided itself on using a bio-psycho-social-spiritual (BPSS) framework for conceptualizing human behavior and for intervening with persons/groups/families who seek their assistance. However, the biological aspects of this BPSS framework have been sorely missing; this book provides the missing link. Research in the neurosciences has grown exponentially during the past 30 years, and certain areas are especially relevant for social workers and other human service professionals. The book summarizes important features of this knowledge. A Transactional Model is explained and used throughout the book to help practitioners conceptualize data for assessment, and to focus our attention on the importance of not becoming over- or under-enthused about the biological, rather using all of the BPSS domains interactively. Following a description of basic characteristics of the new world of the brain, the book explores the link between neuroscience and attachment, trauma, psychotherapy, psychotropic medications and drugs of abuse. -Concerning Attachment and Bonding, it explains how brain research is now able to confirm Bowlby's belief that attachment has a biological link, and it shows how the concept of brain plasticity can enhance attachment theory. -Concerning Trauma, the book provides case examples to illustrate how clinical practice can be enhanced by findings from the neurosciences. It argues that we need to change our traditional way of intervening with children and adolescents who have experienced neglect, trauma, community violence, etc. -Concerning Psychotherapy, the book describes the neurobiology of psychotherapy, and presents new models for intervening that utilize neuroscience results (ideas about neural growth and mirror neurons) that allow for a genuine brain-to-brain connecting between client and clinician. -Concerning Psychotropic Medications and Drugs of Abuse, the changing role of social workers is suggested. This new role is related to psychiatric medications, and how this needs to include diversity of effects between different ethnic and racial groups. Discussed are the topics of the drug-metabolizing enzymes, genetic mutations, and how genes get expressed based on interactions with the environment. The idea of pharmacotherapy being primarily a process of social transaction is explained. New medications for the treatment of PTSD and depression are also described. It is suggested that the neurobiology of substance abuse/addiction emphasizes that addiction is a chronic brain disease. Some of the newer pharmacological treatments for addiction are reviewed, especially those that address cravings and relapse. It indicates the need for combined use of pharmacological and behavioral treatments for addictions and attention to the heterogeneity of addictive processes.
Overview
Neuroscience and Social Work Practice: The Missing Link describes why and how neuroscience is the missing link for human service specialists who are facing the increasing complexity of human and societal problems and diagnoses. It illustrates the need for understanding this link between neuroscience and social work in terms of attachment and bonding, trauma, psychotherapy, psychotropic medications and drugs of abuse. Knowledge of brain science can assist social workers and others with the increasing challenges of clinical practice. It also illuminates, especially through Social Neuroscience, the links between social processes and neuroscience. The Social Work profession has long prided itself on using a bio-psycho-social-spiritual (BPSS) framework for conceptualizing human behavior and for intervening with persons/groups/families who seek their assistance. However, the biological aspects of this BPSS framework have been sorely missing; this book provides the missing link. Research in the neurosciences has grown exponentially during the past 30 years, and certain areas are especially relevant for social workers and other human service professionals. The book summarizes important features of this knowledge. A Transactional Model is explained and used throughout the book to help practitioners conceptualize data for assessment, and to focus our attention on the importance of not becoming over- or under-enthused about the biological, rather using all of the BPSS domains interactively. Following a description of basic characteristics of the new world of the brain, the book explores the link between neuroscience and attachment, trauma, psychotherapy, psychotropic medications and drugs of abuse. -Concerning Attachment and Bonding, it explains how brain research is now able to confirm Bowlby's belief that attachment has a biological link, and it shows how the concept of brain plasticity can enhance attachment theory. -Concerning Trauma, the book provides case examples to illustrate how clinical practice can be enhanced by findings from the neurosciences. It argues that we need to change our traditional way of intervening with children and adolescents who have experienced neglect, trauma, community violence, etc. -Concerning Psychotherapy, the book describes the neurobiology of psychotherapy, and presents new models for intervening that utilize neuroscience results (ideas about neural growth and mirror neurons) that allow for a genuine brain-to-brain connecting between client and clinician. -Concerning Psychotropic Medications and Drugs of Abuse, the changing role of social workers is suggested. This new role is related to psychiatric medications, and how this needs to include diversity of effects between different ethnic and racial groups. Discussed are the topics of the drug-metabolizing enzymes, genetic mutations, and how genes get expressed based on interactions with the environment. The idea of pharmacotherapy being primarily a process of social transaction is explained. New medications for the treatment of PTSD and depression are also described. It is suggested that the neurobiology of substance abuse/addiction emphasizes that addiction is a chronic brain disease. Some of the newer pharmacological treatments for addiction are reviewed, especially those that address cravings and relapse. It indicates the need for combined use of pharmacological and behavioral treatments for addictions and attention to the heterogeneity of addictive processes.

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